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Discussion Starter #1
While negotiating a freeway curve at 80+ I went over a tar snake that ran parallel to the direction of travel. I think there was a difference in the pavement height along the length of the snake. Anyway, the bike started to wallow pretty good and I was off the scale on the pucker factor. Got it all straightened out by backing off on throttle. The bike has about 42k on it with the stock shocks. I know that some of you are rolling your eyes about now as I have read on the forum that the stock shocks are toast anywhere from 24k to 40k. So my question is, would the wallow have happened regardless of shocks or do my stock shocks need to go? I am a heavy guy and like to ride the curves hard when I can so I wouldn't be surprised if the shocks are shot but for just riding along they seem just fine. Oh, and one other thing, the front bottomed out on chuckhole the other day when I was solo. Is that normal even with a good shock allowing for proper setting?
 

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Dude!

Those shocks are done! I have a set of Ohlin's on my LT and never bottom out the front unit. The rear unit, if set up right for your weight should stick to the road and support the bike.

Give in....get new shocks.
 

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For just puttin' around (like an old man), your shocks are fine. But if you're going to be doing 80mph around a sweeper, you best be replacing those worn-out thangs! I've ridden several LTs with aftermarket shocks, and I can't believe the difference it makes. It'll be the best $1200-ish you've spent as of late. Besides, what else are you going to do with the money? Buy stocks?! :rolleyes:
 

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Some tires are horrible on Tar Snakes, others not as bad. In my experience on SoCal mountain roads, Michelin 880s, when about half worn, are really dicey on them. The BT-020 radials much better, even those will wake you up on bad tar snakes. I used to ride Sunshine Highway near San Diego a lot, and parts of it had really bad tar snakes. First time, it really scared me, after that I learned to avoid the worst ones, but just let the bike do it's thing. Kinda like riding on dirt. Of course if it is wet, all bets are off. Tar snakes are absolutely SLICK when wet!
 

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I've been over tar snakes in similar circumstances as you. 2 up and solo. With properly working shocks and no throttle chop, the bike will drift both wheels very obviously with no wobble. If you panic and chop the throttle, and maybe even get back on it, the bike will shake its head even with new shocks. With worn shocks, she'll shake regardless of throttle input.

I'd say your shocks may be gone, although mine at 47K still work fairly well.
 

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Could your steering damper be toast?

My shocks are "gone" too, I'm awaiting my "bail out check" so I can buy some new Ohlins!!! I feel sometimes the same almost "tank slapper" type of wobble, but, rarely.

If you have the coin, replace the shocks.
 

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Here's a good link for you to check out for my ride report with the new shocks I installed. Hyperpro Feedback
Also, if you're getting any oscillation in the bars that's been brought up, you can replace the steering damper at the same time. I can tell you, with good shocks, you'll be amazed with the handling. :cool:
 

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Howdy Jim,

I see how many bikes you've had and if one or more of my responses seems to state the obvious, no offense is intended.


retiredjj said:
While negotiating a freeway curve at 80+ I went over a tar snake that ran parallel to the direction of travel. I think there was a difference in the pavement height along the length of the snake. Anyway, the bike started to wallow pretty good and I was off the scale on the pucker factor. ....
The word you used is "wallow" and that would indicate that the shock is not damping properly. Generally when you hit a tar snake over an extended length of road you'll either just ride on it or, the tire will slide laterally over it in a sudden shift.

Your description sounds like the shock is "worn out" and not damping properly.


retiredjj said:
So my question is, would the wallow have happened regardless of shocks or do my stock shocks need to go?
I don't believe so. A good shock working properly shouldn't "feedback" to you a mushy, or wallowing, sensation. If the tar-snake is slippery then, you should feel a slip. If the pavement was uneven then, you should feel the variation. A "wallow" is a sign that the shock is not able to respond quickly enough to the inputs it is receiving from the road.


retiredjj said:
I am a heavy guy and like to ride the curves hard when I can so I wouldn't be surprised if the shocks are shot but for just riding along they seem just fine.
I am a big guy (#270) and ride a lot of two-up and I tossed the stock shocks at 12K. FWIW, I tend to ride the curves "hard". I was tired of the wallowing and scraping that was getting more and more frequently so off with the OEM and on with the Ohlins.


retiredjj said:
Oh, and one other thing, the front bottomed out on chuckhole the other day when I was solo. Is that normal even with a good shock allowing for proper setting?
When you ride over a chuckhole, I assume that's another word for "pothole", something has to give. The tire, the shock, the spring and if they, together, can't take enough of the impact, then it's the wheel....and that's expensive.

AFTER you get some good shocks you'll be able to safely maneuver around those "chuckholes" without the drama a bad shock might give you.

.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the input. I know that new shocks will probably make a big difference in the ride even if the current ones are marginal. I know that I have had to service the preload adjuster twice this year. The first time was after getting back from Sturgis. I screwed it almost all the way down for the ride home from Sturgis and didn't suffer any body aches like I had on the way to Sturgis. It was on the way home I had the fun with the snake. When I checked the level in the adjuster at home it was down about half way. And about two weeks ago I rechecked and it was down maybe a quarter inch. I don't know where that stuff goes, jack oil, but if it keeps using like that I have to conclude there is a problem with the shock valving.

Bill, you and I are within a few pounds of each other, mine is mostly muscle however :rotf: . Your comment about scraping the under parts rings true with me too. I confess to not fully understanding all the workings of shocks so I figure I can increase preload and still have a bad shock for the dampening, right? So I am going to have to face up to it and spring for some new Ohlins unless someone has a better brand in mind. I am always open to suggestions on equipment.
Thanks again
jj
 

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retiredjj said:
When I checked the level in the adjuster at home it was down about half way. And about two weeks ago I rechecked and it was down maybe a quarter inch. I don't know where that stuff goes, jack oil, but if it keeps using like that I have to conclude there is a problem with the shock valving.
The oil you put in the preload adjuster does not get in the shock. There is no connection bertween the 2.
 

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retiredjj said:
....
Bill, you and I are within a few pounds of each other, mine is mostly muscle however :rotf: .
HAH!!! Now that's FUNNY. :kaboom: ;)

retiredjj said:
Your comment about scraping the under parts rings true with me too. I confess to not fully understanding all the workings of shocks so I figure I can increase preload and still have a bad shock for the dampening, right?
Yep, the pre-load will, essentially, adjust the ride height of the bike. When you order your new shocks be sure that they offer and will install heavy springs.

retiredjj said:
So I am going to have to face up to it and spring for some new Ohlins unless someone has a better brand in mind. I am always open to suggestions on equipment...
It does sound like you're ready for after-market shocks. There are many quality solutions. I only have personal experience with Ohlins and they were "set-up" with the heaviest standard available.

With new shocks and riding the bike between 4K and 7.5K rpm you'll fall in love the LT all over again.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
zippy_gg said:
The oil you put in the preload adjuster does not get in the shock. There is no connection bertween the 2.

Now I didn't know that!! You learn something new everyday. Still wonder where that stuff dribbles off to?? :cool:
thanks again and just as an aside, I had always ridden the LT conservatively till one day I went on a nine tour with a friend with an FJR. Yeah, he could stay out in front but above 5k the LT was a whole new machine. Almost felt like one of my old sport bikes. Now for the new shocks.
 

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It was the tar snake. My LT with fresh Ohlins would dance on a nasty tar snake. That being said, a fresh set of shocks will make it and you much happier.
 

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What Mr Taylor said! Tar snakes will getcha no matter what!

I am 200 lbs and ride aggressively and was constantly dragging parts, UNTIL I had my wreck (in a curve) and UNTIL I had Ohlins installed a few months ago.

They make a world of difference, no dragging over the "sleeping policeman" and hardly any dragging in the curves with 2 up (with baggage)!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yeah, I expect to get some sort of reaction when hitting a snake regardless of suspension. But when the wallowing, fishtailing or what you want to call it, keeps up after hitting the beast then I believe the conclusion is bad suspension.
Again, thanks for the inputs.
 

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From my experience (M880s) it was the tar snake. I could develop a real hate for them things . . . .
 

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For what its worth.

My LT wobbled in a curve once, oh yes, it does raise the pucker factor a whole lot. Cured it for doing that by cranking up the pre-load on the rear. Hasn't done it since.

One nice thing about North Carolina, not a whole lot of tar snakes.

I'm a little on the heavy side also, 230, and also like to ride it a little hard. Just got back on from a weekend ride that included a run up Hwy 276 in SC, past Ceasars Head. Couple of observations. The LT is a little big and heavy for that road, not a real good idea to push it hard there, some curves are 1st gear ones, rpms too low for 2nd but got almost too much power in 1st, would be real easy to apply to much and the rear would come right out from under you. Would be an excellent road for a 650 or 750 if you want to play. We, had the wife along, stayed right with the folks on the smaller and lighter bikes without scraping pegs and the center stand. The other folks were riding K12GT, K12GP, GS and a Harley Ultra Classic. Got to hand it to the HD rider, he is a very good rider and knows what he is doing, commented that it was work, like riding a refrigerator on wheels.
Came back on Hwy 64 to Lake Lure and then Hwy 9 to 74. Great news guys! They have repaved the road through Lake Lure and did a very good job of it, talk about nicely banked and smooth. Now if they could do something about the slow cars.........
 
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